Hands off allotment

My partner and I have held an allotment (half-plot) on the Greenway Lane allotments site at Budleigh Salterton for the past six years and we have very much enjoyed the fruits of our labours. We live in one of the roads adjacent to the allotment site and have no garden.

We attended a meeting at the Public Hall last week where Clinton Devon Estates and Cornerstone Housing outlined their proposals for providing new housing on the existing allotment site and an improved allotment site elsewhere.

We strongly oppose the plans for building on this site and would like to make the following points:

Like many other local people, we have been discussing this issue and a few of the senior citizens within our community have mentioned that Lord Clinton gave this piece of land for the use as gardens for the people who do not have one right outside their doors.

The existing allotments have been there for around 65 years and, during this time, the ground has been lovingly toiled. Some allotment holders have been at the site for 30 years or more.

For the community of the Greenway Lane area and for many from the town, this is their only growing space - we are encouraged by the government to ‘go green’ and grow our own. With 65 years of well looked after soil, this is exactly what we are doing!

The ‘improved’ alternative allotment site offered up by CDE and CH is in the field at the top of the existing site, which, we understand, is stony and houses many rabbits. We cannot see how what we already have can be improved upon. Sixty-five years of well nurtured soil is a tough act to follow. The allotment site, as a whole, is an eco system in its own right and, as such, should not be interfered with.

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The allotment site is a place where many local people communicate, a centre where young and old and in between exchange their knowledge. A place where more than plants are nurtured. Many people are enjoying their retirement up on the allotment and, for some, ‘going up the plot’ is the only thing they have. For others, a move would be just too much. We feel our allotments are an integral and passionate part of the community of Greenway Lane.

With regard to new housing - ‘affordable’ for young families and a number of homes that would be on the open market - this would take all of the above away from us locals. We would lose the energy we have all already put in and the general feel of community spirit.

Building upon this piece of land would create even more of a built-up area than it already is, there would be light pollution and further air pollution with some 75 or more cars.

Sewerage is also an issue and, as for parking, Greenway Lane is totally over-parked as it is. At present, it would be difficult to get a fire engine or ambulance up or down there during an evening, if needed.

Greenway Lane is already one of the main routes for cars to the school. It is very busy at school times, with build up of traffic near the entrance to the school already being a problem. Fifty more homes could mean approximately 75 more children - can our local school accommodate this and, also, can the roads? We also question if the local health centre could either?

There truly must be a better site for new housing. We note from last week’s Journal that our mayor, Tom Wright, states: “They (CDE) do have other parcels of land that might be more suitable.”

We would suggest that the ‘more suitable land’ would be the very best option and question why the allotments site has even been considered.

Bridgee Malone and Simon Wood

(via email).

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